Transportation Dollars Fall Short, Let’s Add School Buses

by lewwaters

BusThe election is over and once again, voters have chosen to keep the State of Washington under the grip of the tax & spend Progressive Democrats, apparently not the least bit concerned over their own financial situation of falsely believing someone else will just walk outside and harvest money off of their money tree to fund whatever dream those tax & spend Progressives come up with, unable to live within their means.

Two areas that have been contentious are transportation and education, neither ever having adequate funding for whatever is dreamt up or claimed needed by proponents.

Just today I received an email from the Washington State Transportation Commission for a survey addressing “Tolling and Road Usage Charge Assessment Study,” to weigh the public’s opinion on just where more tax revenue should be raised.

WSDOT 1

While primarily addressing transportation projects up in the Puget Sound area, we in Southwest Washington know that our own contentious, corrupt Columbia River Crossing is pending and in search of more of our dwindling tax dollars with its own price tag of $3.5 Billion expected to be closer to $10 Billion with interest payments and cost overruns.

As seen in the screen shot above from the survey, we continue to see little to no effort whatsoever to curtail spending on these massive transportation boondoggles, just questions on where may they dig deeper into our pockets to fund such ‘pie in the sky’ expansions like light rail.

Although we have one of the highest gasoline taxes in the country, it meets only 76% of the state’s transportation needs, according to WSDOT as we see more and more efforts made to lower the use of gasoline and force more people into public transportation.

Should you purchase a vehicle that uses much less gas to operate, the state desire to charge you an extra fee to make up for your effort to save money and pollution, upwards of $200 a year on top of your regular yearly fees to own a private vehicle.

Should you own a home, the state desires to punish you by tacking on more property tax to fund the projects they want to build, on top of taxes currently levied on you for schools, parks or whatever local governments have added over the years.

Forgotten or ignored is that we remain in a deep recession that has seen home ownership decrease, home values decrease, wages decrease, long-term unemployment increase and costs for goods and food increasing as well.

If this wasn’t troubling enough, we also now read, State road money may be used to fund school buses.

Since the State Supreme Court ruled education to be a “paramount duty” of the state legislature in the so-called McCleary case, we also see efforts to raise more revenue to fund schools, meet teacher’s salaries and benefit packages and whatever else the Teachers Union says is a must do.

There too we see little or no effort for the union to “share in the sacrifice” and decrease their demands.

We read of the Joint Task Force promoting the proposal,

“Ideas floated by three of the panel’s four Democrats rely on the transportation budget to pick up some, most or all the tab for school bus services, which are estimated to be $900 million in the next budget.”

Yes, as we see the State Transportation budget falling far short of what is wanted, 3 Democrats come up with the insane idea of just adding another $900 Million, or more onto the Transportation Budget in what looks more like a shell game effort to make it appear the education is being funded instead of actually addressing the base problem, expenses are out of line with revenues being collected.

Are they unable to fathom that regardless of what shell they hid the bean under, struggling taxpayers are still stuck with the bill and we do not have endless supplies of money trees to harvest?

Whatever happened to parents dropping their kids off at school? Or children walking and riding bicycles to school?

When I was growing up in Southeast Florida back in the 1950’s, we walked to school since we lived within the state’s 2 mile limit for being picked up by a school bus. Occasionally, our Dad would drop us off on his way to work and we walked home after school, even if was raining.

It did us no harm and actually helped keep us fit, since we also see worries over childhood obesity being floated today.

Previous efforts to move paying for school buses over to the transportation budget received a cool reception, largely seen as moving money away from the many generous transportation projects the state also wants to fund.

Democrat House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, a member of the Joint Task Force says, “The only way (the shift) would happen is it would have to be part of a broader transportation package,” meaning to me to raise our taxes somewhere to “broaden” their revenue receipts.

Republican member of the Task Force Representative Gary Alexander says of the proposal,

“It is interesting,” adding, “This concept tends to have more support than others. It depends on what the impact will be on other parts of the transportation budget to know if this is a good idea or not.”

What about the impact on struggling taxpayers?

Is there a reason that is not considered?

Elections have consequences and everywhere I look, those consequences remain to be our legislature picking our pockets, putting more and more of us under dependency on government as they confiscate our paychecks to be able to give a little back to us as they see fit.

The recent announcement of a power-sharing coalition in the State Senate between Republicans and Moderate Democrats is welcome news that I hope will return some sanity to Olympia.

Hopefully they can start with efforts to bring down costs of these ‘pie in the sky’ projects and outright canceling many that are not really a necessity.

Hopefully too, efforts will be made to curtail the power of the WEA and other Public Unions sucking taxpayers dry while our children do not receive the education they deserve.

A frequent commercial seen on television features people yelling, “It’s my money and I need it now.”

Isn’t it about time that Olympia learned our paychecks are our money and we need them now to feed and care for our own families?

11 Comments to “Transportation Dollars Fall Short, Let’s Add School Buses”

  1. It’s ridiculous to even consider it

  2. I wonder why they don’t consider combining transit buses and school buses? It seems we basically have two large fleets of buses, all paid for or leased by the tax payers. Combine them into one state-wide fleet and use them for ALL public transportation.

  3. The public transportation system known as Tri-Met is currently used by students to get to school in Portland as a regular program. It works for the 7th grade plus groups quite well. The issue here is that the current education system is funded in three or four supplemental budget areas as well as the general budget. Buildings to conduct class in are in one budget and lunch/breakfast/dinner for the kids are in another budget, etc. It is high time we do a full budget overhaul and show the real numbers as they are broken down by category in one single budget that is line item expensed for the sake of helping the Judges to clearly understand the cost of education and where those dollars are being spent.

  4. I just left the CRC oversight meeting. Apparently since the members of this committee that are legislators will not be in the same positions or were defeated in the election cycle this is the last meeting for this committee. Sen. Ann Rivers requested the committee and sat on it initially as a Representative and then of course as our 18th Dist Senator. She said she might try to put it back together again. Senator King from up north did a fine job of summing up the end results of the oversight meetings with about a five minute desertation on the course of the meetings questions and planning and lack of answers. He stated many of the issues that others and myself have been raising with regards to the funding. They are going to be looking for $1.7 billion plus 37.5% cost overrides just out of our state pockets for starters. He was really disgusted and said so. These budget dreams are our grandchildrens nightmares. Time is that these two seperate party’s put the partisan aside and do what is right. By the way, Rep Armstrong is a republican; Senator Rivers is a republican; Senator King is a democrat and they were all on the same page of frustration. The only persons who appeared to be appeased with the process were Rep Clibborn and Rep Moeller. He stated that this was a comprimise and had to go forward, while she stated how critical it was not to waste the money and time already spent! Senator King said he would love to have a government contract slated for $50 million that had now spent well over $137 million and was still open and counting! I say good luck to us as this project moves forward we had better all be there in support of our fiscal conservative friends in the legislature.

  5. “I wonder why they don’t consider combining transit buses and school buses? It seems we basically have two large fleets of buses, all paid for or leased by the tax payers. Combine them into one state-wide fleet and use them for ALL public transportation.”

    That makes sense. Unfortunately, the classified school employees union is controlled by – you guessed it – school bus drivers.

  6. “Isn’t it about time that Olympia learned our paychecks are our money and we need them now to feed and care for our own families?” Oh no, Lew they are certain we would all spend it in fast food joints, on getting high, or drunk. Some one has to protect us from the temptations of money!!!!

  7. I would prefer that we be protected from their temptations with money, our money ;-)

  8. Hey Lew, if you want examples of a privately run bus service, take a look up north at the consortium that Kalama, Woodland and in that area uses? And how about Battle Ground? If you need private school buses or how such a system operates, a person could go talk to the school districts up there for suggestions and guidance PLUS cheaper alternatives than C-tran.

    To Carolyn, just so you are aware, Eric Florip said basically the same thing you said but in shorter, twitter form this afternoon that you just wrote here… So you know now know, you weren’t the only one. And the crc project also now sends out short bursts of basic data and follows the Oregonian and Eric.

    I can hardly WAIT within the next 48 hours to watch the video! :)

    Sorry I was not able to attend. I have have a horrifically bad cold and water in my lungs for the past two weeks. I am just about to go to Southwest tomorrow because I feel like I might have a case of pneumonia. And there are other medical things wrong with me…. And just to add further, everyone. PLEASE, if you know someone has a cold around you, be smart and protect yourself!!!!!

  9. Really the last 15 to 20 minutes are all you need to watch… the rest is yesterdays rhetoric!

  10. I, for one,
    am sick of my paycheck going for taxes to subsidize everything from food stamps and section 8 housing to free condoms and bus service. Here’s a thought, make it a self sustaining privately owned service with accountability to the owners and users. Why should I as a taxpayer who already has to make a car payment, an insurance payment and pay for $4 gas subsidize people so that they get cheap transportation. And don’t even begin to tell me its about being green. Have you ever been downtown and seen all of the buses in the afternoon that are running with little or no riders while belching diesel fuel smoke? This is a terrible sham and something that Mr. Madore should address. What is the true cost per customer mile of operating this bloated service? Thanks for the ability to sound off. Jim Hallar

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